I suspect that as we enter this post-Sept. 11 Christmas season many of us will feel the added pressure to be patriotic as we take out checkbooks and plastic and head for the mall. The meaning of giving will continue to be obscured and diminished. The "new normalcy"? Perhaps some alternative gift ideas can help. This year give the following in generous amounts:
Your love: Always the right size, shape, and it comes in all colors.
Your time: It passes and never comes back. Give it while you still have it.
Your attention: Give it completely, especially to your kids.
Your thanks: for everything and to everyone in your life.
Your forgiveness: to anyone who has ever hurt you.
Your apology: to anyone you have ever hurt.
Your trust: to all who deserve it.
Your heart: It's a fragile and precious gift, but don't be afraid to give it.
Your compassion: This will help you know what else to give and to whom.
Your money: It can't buy love but it can buy food, clothing and shelter.
In the aftermath of our great tragedy, let's truly think about what matters the most in our lives. Let's honor the dead and all of those who have suffered losses by setting aside our habitual tendencies and cultural imperatives and giving what counts.
If we all do this, we will all receive what counts, and that will make all the difference in creating the "new normalcy" we've talked so much about. Let us give this holiday season as we gave following Sept. 11. Let us always give that way.
Stuart S. Light